Author Topic: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.  (Read 14827 times)

Endorya

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A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:28:20 AM »
So as many of may know already, I'm building this not-so-simple roguelike game, which is presently flying over its design phase and being assembled through an editor.

One thing I've changed so far is the way the player explores the world map. Instead of having the player "entering (>)" the portion of land he is, which would normally let him explore it in third person using the cursor, he will have a button that will do the exploration automatically.

This is how it will work: The player presses the button and a progress bar (or something) will monitor the exploration progress. During this time, time itself will elapse faster and every site of interest (caves, settlements, ruins, dungeons, shrines etc.) will be noted down to that portion of land and to a journal. Some skills will affect the speed at which scouting takes place and there will be many things prone to happen during this period of time like being ambushed, finding a magic ring in the road or special encounters like a caravan with particular goods.

I think this will be a good approach to bridge possible boring-explorations of land that could be empty. When I used to play DF in adventure mode, I would most of the time suffer from this boredom, maybe I was simply exploring the wrongs areas but this is something I definitely wish to cast out from my game. If an area is empty the player won't fill like he just waster a great deal of time for nothing (by using my method).

Other things will include the ability to search for a type of animal or plant in the portion of land the player stands in. If the player is in a temperate forest searching for a particular type of plant that he knows it grows there, he will mostly be able to find one or a bag full of them, depending on their rarity.

Anyway, what this thread is really about is how to explore the sites of interest the player finds during and after the exploration process. Initially, I was planning it to be as a traditional roguelike, where the player controls his character in third view with the cursor, turn after turn. But what if this could be done through text while having a map telling the player's party location? Like an adventure text game but with the complexity of a roguelike.

By using this method I could add more atmosphere and sound effects to fully immerse the player on his adventure. Lets take a cave example:

The player decides to explore a cave he found in a mountain portion of land. A cave entrance image is displayed along with the new interface optimized for cave exploration. A WAV file playing the cave sound will be heard with a small stream echoing at the distance.

"The cave exhibits tall, narrow and slightly leaned entrance with straight corridor leading to a dark and tenuous descent. A soft breeze can be felt coming out from it embraced in strange odor [check party total smelling skill] that you are [unable or able] to detect (or detecd as the odor of a specific mushroom)."

Options:
1 - Throw a rock into it and see what happens.
2 - Send one single member ahead to scout it.
3 - Enter the cave while leaving 1 or more members outside.
4 - Enter the cave with the whole party
5 - Tie each other with a rope before entering with the whole party

4 "Your whole party enters the cave descending the long corridor. Soon the dim light perishes at the hands of darkness [Check Item>Torch] [not available] - You are unable to proceed without a light source [Available] - You light a torch. Shortly after, the corridor ends with a bifurcation.

1 - Return to the cave entrance
2 - Throw a rock into the left path
3 - Throw a rock into the right path
4 - Scout ahead the left path
5 - Scout ahead the right path
6 - [If available] - Call the member outside the cave entrance
7 - Split the party in half to explore both paths.
8 - Describe scene (this is one of the many options that is always available in any situation, which will give you full detail of the aread you are in depending on everyone's skills)

Note: The action happens with the main character, so if the main character chooses to split his party and take the left path he won't be able to witness the exploration of those who adventure through the right path.

Please understand, this is just a demo, the real thing would offer more options within a clean interface made to be operated with the mouse.

Well, I think this might give you an idea of the game-play alternative I refer to and I guess most of you will probably dislike it because it bypasses the concept of roguelike game-play but I'm willing to explore other possibilities that might increase the immersion level of the game.

So what do you think of this?

[EDIT]
The actions described are just an example of what could be done in different kinds of scenarios. They will not be listed each time the player takes a further step towards his exploration. These options (like many others) will be available in the interface and it is up to the player to decide when to use them.


[EDIT]
Decision has been made. There will be no text based exploration model.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 06:49:35 PM by Endorya »
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Darren Grey

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 11:35:24 AM »
To be honest I think it sounds incredibly dull. Text takes a while to read and parse, and gets very repetitive across multiple playthroughs. I don't care how many random encounters you add, if I play your game a lot I will end up repeating several. Plus often the decisions aren't interesting as there's just a checklist of best answers. Often the text is long and boring and having to read so much is a slog, so you skimread looking for key words. Consider FTL, where after a few playthroughs you just read the answers and not the scenarios. All the flavour is lost entirely.

If you're worried about scant maps then make everything denser. If you're worried about immersion then find ways to do that subtlety, instead of bluntly hitting the player over the head with blocks of text every turn. If you want real exploration then don't give a player lists, give them interesting interactions and the space to explore those in. Exploration needs freedom, and list-responses are the utter opposite of that.

There are people who like text adventures, mind, but even they want the exploration of figuring out which commands to use on what. I doubt they'd like to be just given a list of pre-set interactions in each locations.

Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 12:04:04 PM »
To be honest I think it sounds incredibly dull. Text takes a while to read and parse, and gets very repetitive across multiple playthroughs. I don't care how many random encounters you add, if I play your game a lot I will end up repeating several. Plus often the decisions aren't interesting as there's just a checklist of best answers. Often the text is long and boring and having to read so much is a slog, so you skimread looking for key words. Consider FTL, where after a few playthroughs you just read the answers and not the scenarios. All the flavour is lost entirely.

If you're worried about scant maps then make everything denser. If you're worried about immersion then find ways to do that subtlety, instead of bluntly hitting the player over the head with blocks of text every turn. If you want real exploration then don't give a player lists, give them interesting interactions and the space to explore those in. Exploration needs freedom, and list-responses are the utter opposite of that.

There are people who like text adventures, mind, but even they want the exploration of figuring out which commands to use on what. I doubt they'd like to be just given a list of pre-set interactions in each locations.

I see what you mean. Thanks for your feedback. But now imagine having those options simply available on your interface and that you are the one who decides when to use them. In fact this is what I was panning to do, the above example was just a mare demonstration of the options available (kinda). So this means you move from one place into another without interruptions, nonetheless allowing you to perform and explore actions at any given time.

I'll update the opening post

« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 12:23:08 PM by Endorya »
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miki151

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 12:26:07 PM »
How about an "autopilot" explore mode that keeps the normal roguelike interface?
KeeperRL, Dungeon Keeper in roguelike style:
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Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 12:42:02 PM »
How about an "autopilot" explore mode that keeps the normal roguelike interface?
What do you mean?
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miki151

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 12:46:18 PM »
Basically as you said, but instead of a progress bar, you'd watch the PC exploring the area, his moves generated by and "AI" algorithm instead of coming from the keyboard. When he finds something or you stop it manually, you can continue normal play.
KeeperRL, Dungeon Keeper in roguelike style:
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Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 12:50:40 PM »
Basically as you said, but instead of a progress bar, you'd watch the PC exploring the area, his moves generated by and "AI" algorithm instead of coming from the keyboard. When he finds something or you stop it manually, you can continue normal play.
I could consider that but that would delay my work for quite a bit, I will save that for last. Anyway, my real problem is not how to explore the world map but on how to explore the sites discovered in it. I think I will just use the traditional method.
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Anvilfolk

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 02:48:57 PM »
Yeah, although in principle it's interesting to have more flavour using text, I feel Darren Grey is absolutely right. I find myself doing that with FTL, and it does get repetitive eventually.

There's no reason why you cannot attach short descriptions à la Dwarf Fortress to the location you are exploring though. Make up a list of attributes and generate terrain and play sounds based on those attributes. For example, watery or damp caves might have the sound of falling waterdrops, a waterfall or river might play the sound of running water, a big monster might growl, lots of vegetation would rustle, and echoing might be possible to implement.

Also, Dungeon Crawl has the auto-explore option. It's a bliss, even if it's fairly suboptimal, as you walk a lot more, and lack of food might become an issue.
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JohnK

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 03:06:05 PM »
Sounds like a single player MUD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUD). I say MUD rather than text adventure because as I understand it they tend to be closer to rogue-likes in complexity. Interesting text is hard to generate though, harder than interesting maps (and we all know that isn't trivial).

To overcome your original problem of boring exploration, without resorting to all text or auto explore, how about a hybrid approach by having 3 layers to your map...
Overland: Move around and explore etc. like you'd expect.
Region map: Zoom into one region and as you explore more points of interest are revealed, you don't move between them like a roguelike, you just select them from a menu. More like a text adventure.
Dungeon map: Click on a point of interest and select 'delve'. These regions have strict boundaries and you can leave them to return to the sub-region map.

John,

Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2013, 03:59:00 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions!
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requerent

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 05:37:24 PM »
http://pcg.wikidot.com/pcg-algorithm:teleological-vs-ontogenetic


I think you're trying very hard to generate a realistic world and then find a way to make the experience of that world a 'game.' In reality it will just be a simulation and therefore very difficult to control whether it's fun or not.

I've linked to the PCG-wiki's article on Teleological vs ontogenetic because, I think, that the concept will be useful to think about here. Do you want to crutch a player into a simulation so that it feels like a game, or do you just want a game? If the latter, then just make everything interesting and challenging.

Unfortunately, how you generate your world and how you invite a player to experience this world depends HEAVILY on what sort of interactions the player can have with that area. For example-- if you generate a realistic mountain range but then don't have a climbing skill, there is a sharp disconnect between what the player can do and what experience you've generated for them.

To put it in perspective-- Games are interesting for the decisions. A good rogue-likes provide lots of subtle and overt decisions that, despite the game being randomly generated, lays fault for losing entirely on the shoulders of the player. Your auto-explore idea doesn't demand any really interesting decisions. There is no emergent gameplay in this-- it takes the experience out of the hands of the player and rolls dice to determine their fate.

Making a game out of a completely simulated world is... cumbersome. The player doesn't experience all of the work you're putting into the game-- it's just a poor mapping of feature to feedback.

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 09:15:30 PM »
Beautifully put, requerent  :)

Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 08:09:38 AM »
Your auto-explore idea doesn't demand any really interesting decisions. There is no emergent gameplay in this-- it takes the experience out of the hands of the player and rolls dice to determine their fate.
What kind of interesting ideas does the exploration in third person bears as far as the world map is concerned? From my experience from traditional roguelike games, it involves pressing the arrow keys or the numeric pad keys over and over (battles and fleeing scenes included) until luck or death hits you (roughly speaking ok?). I do understand that exploring a site like a cave or a dungeon in third person is the way to go but the world map? Unless I make it small and dense or graphically appealing as in Skyrim, it will be boring (personal opinion). Anyway, rolling the dice is what roguelikes are all about.

The idea of the game is to explore a huge world with tons of sites scattered throwout it (100k places to explore). Some areas will be empty others not. Now imagine being halted while in third person by bandits and wild life, as you try to explore a portion of land, just to realize at the end that that area was empty. Now imagine this happening 3 or 4 times in a row. Sure I could make it more dense but the current density is optimized for the auto-explore feature. This controlled density is made in a way to force the player to move farther and farther into unexplored territory, which can and will eventually become days, weeks and even months of traveling time from his home or from the closest city.

I fully understand condemning such feature because in your POV you think of just pressing a button and all is done. But no, it won't play like this, there is a bunch of things to consider before using auto-explore feature. First, you need to understand what type of land you're about to explore because it can be a dangerous place to go in at a specific time of the day, month, season or with certain weather conditions. You then define the pace at which you will explore it and define what you will be looking for. You will be able to actually define what each member will do during the exploration and if they should spread out to explore it way faster or remain together to increase their survival chances. Each choice shall bear an advantage and a disadvantage which only kin and careful players will sucessfully exploit.

Many events can be triggered during the exploration process like being ambushed or attacked by wild life, depending on the party skills that will tell who spots who first, giving the player the upper hand or a chance to evade an encounter. Other things will include unfortunate and fortunate consequences like falls and stepping on traps but also finding hidden treasure / items or special caravans carrying special cargo at a special price. Some situations will require player input to make important decisions like deciding if the exploration should be halted due to spotting a large enemy force or issuing shelter due to the weather changing, even though the area has been almost fully explored.

I do think that the auto-explore feature does carry interesting decisions to make, in fact I believe its WELL above the options present in traditional roguelike exploration sessions. In ADOM the only options I had when exploring the world map were either [F]ight or [E]vade an encounter, that was it.

But of course, each game is done with a specific game-play purpose in mind. I mean, a third-person world map exploration can be effectively done if using the right size and density or by using other game-play mechanics, entirely dependent (of course) on what the game tries to achieve. I just think it is not fair to condemn the auto-explore feature when so much can be added to it. Because what I see is few people trying the improve the concept while having most of you rejecting it without exploring its possibilities.

Please understand, this post is all about world map exploration, and not about the best method on how to explore a dungeon or a cave, which is what this thread is all about.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 04:21:24 PM by Endorya »
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Darren Grey

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 08:44:21 AM »
World map can technically be boring, but as an immersive tool it works rather well. ADOM is a good example of this - the world map isn't too big, but it gives the impression of depth to the game world.

But if you're set on your idea then I suggest making a prototype and seeing how it plays. Best way to see if an idea works!

Endorya

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Re: A major decison that I need to make regarging game-play.
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 08:54:38 AM »
World map can technically be boring, but as an immersive tool it works rather well. ADOM is a good example of this - the world map isn't too big, but it gives the impression of depth to the game world.
ADOM works very well indeed, mostly because it is not about world map exploration but site exploration, like settlements, dungeons, arenas etc. ADOM's world map is explored WHILE in world map view and not in zoomed-in view, which is basically the same concept used by my game but with WAY less options or focus on the exploration side.

But if you're set on your idea then I suggest making a prototype and seeing how it plays. Best way to see if an idea works!
Honestly, I think it has potential. But then again, I've been wrong before...  ;D
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 04:22:17 PM by Endorya »
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